Solar power and solar panels installed on your roof are more and more common on residences with over 3 million current installations in the U.S. and that number is expected to more than double by 2023.
But do you need a new roof before you put solar panels on?
Most solar panels last 25-30 years or more, so you don’t want to install them on a roof that will need to be replaced long before they do. If you find that you need to update your roof in order to install solar panels, you can often include this expense in your tax credit.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), asphalt shingle roofs — by far the most popular roofing material — last about 20 years. Of course, condition does not always directly correlate with age, so it’s important you know not only how old your roof is but also what sort of shape it’s in currently. Especially if your roof is more than five years old, you should consider having a professional evaluation done on your roof to help determine whether it is holding up well and is ready for solar panels.
If your roof is nearing the end of its projected lifespan or is in poor condition, then you are typically better off replacing it before installing solar panels. This ensures your roof will be able to support the solar panels, which weigh about the same as adding a second layer of shingles, and keeps you from having to pay to take down the panels when it comes time to replace the roof and reinstall them after the new roof goes on.